Empire State Development Corp. to Extend Yonkers-Manhattan Commuter Ferry Service
The Yonkers Downtown Waterfront Development Corp.secured an additional $300,000 loan from the Empire State Development Corp. (ESDC) to extend commuter ferry service operated in partnership with Harbor Experience Cos., owner of the New York Water Taxi, an additional three months beyond the elapsed two year provision that was launched with an initial $4.2 loan from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. The route was supposed to have ended on July 17, 2009. The Yonkers Tribune last week made public its assertion that Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone was desperate to extend the service lest his vision of economic development be publicly gauged a failure due to the stalled effort under his aegis and that of his cousin, Jim Pinto, the failed executive director of the Yonkers Downtown Waterfront Development Corp., only recently merged under the umbrella of Lou Kirven’s Community Development Agency (CDA). Mayor Amicone’s effort to maintain the commuter service may go to deflect attention from the paltry imprint vis-a-vis his vision for the downtown waterfront the ferry service represented. The valiant effort will accomplish nothing more than throw $300,000 into the majestic Hudson River and another memory of continuing failure by an administration incapable of planning success.
An official announcement of the extended service will be made public on Monday, July 27, 2009.
City Hall is still operating under the concept that continuing the service will allow ridership to swell to the point of sustaining the service. Yonkers Downtown Waterfront Development Corp. has suggested that marketing concepts will assist it toward that end. Over the past two years marketing the service has suffered by a lack of advertising and promotion by the very people who now claim they will do what they failed to do in the past. Jim Pinto failed before and can be expected to lose another $300,000 if past conduct is the judge.
88 passengers, on average, used the service daily. An additional stop at West 39th Street will be insinuated into the route to entice greater ridership. Additionally, New York Waterway has agreed to provide bus service from the West 39th Street pier to other parts of Manhattan. In order to build a “viable” commuter ferry service experts suggest a five-year window will be required. One must therefore ask what Mr Pinto could accomplish in the next three months. He doesn’t have a clue. Even so, we wish him well because Yonkers has suffered at his every failure.
State agency personnel advise operating expenses for the service from July 2009 to July 2011 to total $2.9 million. Operating costs are not covered despite commuters paying $320 a month for the service.
By Hezi Aris
Entry filed under: Get Wet, Maritime, Region. Tags: Empire State Development Corp., ferry service, Harbor Experience, Hudson River, New York Water Taxi, Yonkers, Yonkers Downtown Waterfront Development Corp..